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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Video Game Soldiers

Washington Post has "new" coverage of soldiers interacting with video games, and sadly they lead with:

One blistering afternoon in Iraq, while fighting insurgents in the northern town of Mosul, Sgt. Sinque Swales opened fire with his .50-cal. That was only the second time, he says, that he ever shot an enemy. A human enemy.

"It felt like I was in a big video game. It didn't even faze me, shooting back. It was just natural instinct. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! " remembers Swales, a fast-talking, deep-voiced, barrel-chested 29-year-old from Chesterfield, Va. He was a combat engineer in Iraq for nearly a year.

And I'm sure months of boot camp had nothing to do with that response. No, no. Must be SOCOM. Sigh. Because, most of the gamers I know think like this:

"You just try to block it out, see what you need to do, fire what you need to fire. Think to yourself, This is a game, just do it, just do it, " says Trevino, 20, the baby of the group, recalling his first shot at a human enemy.


"Of course, it's not a game. The feel of the actual weapon was more of an adrenaline rush than the feel of the controller," he continues. "But you're practically doing the same thing: trying to kill the other person. The goal is the same. That's the similarity. The goal is to survive."

Yes, actively convincing ourselves that reality is in fact ... not reality. Man, that brainwashing is getting lazier and lazier. And the only difference between firing a fully automatic assault rifle and using a dual shock controller is, well, adrenaline. Oh, but wait? What happens when all that breaks down?

However, he says, "What I saw was a lot of them discovered levels of innocence that they probably didn't think they had. When they actually shot people, especially innocent people, and were confronted with this, I saw guys break down. The violence in games hadn't prepared them for this."
-- Virtual Reality Prepares Soldiers for Real War

No. Really. Imagine my shock. Really shooting somoeone is actually ... not a video game. Thanks for burying it on page three, Washington Post. Especially after two pages of comparing the two. Oh, but then at the end? Oh yeah, it compares the two again, proclaiming "When you're trying to get a steady shot, you hear the heart beating. That right there felt like the real thing."

Thanks again, Washington Post. This piece will give people plenty of fodder to actually believe that Grand Theft Auto trained their kids how to steal cars and shoot cops. Should set us back about a year or so.

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Clamatius said...

"It wasn't really like a video game. I don't remember videogames giving me nightmares, for a start."

"OMG! It was totally like SOCOM! I PWNED THEM!"

Which of these stories do you think will result in a greater number of newspapers sold? Repeat interviews with soldiers till you get the one you want.

Josh said...

Completely. And who would think that, dear gosh, a bunch of 18-21 years olds hopped up on a adrenaline with a steady supply of firearms and life-threatening situations might ... GASP ... identify with first person shooters.

My stars and garters. This is astounding.